New businesses grow in Wilton

Real estate sales are down this year compared with last in Wilton, but there is an uptick in another indicator of economic health in town, the number of new businesses opening up.

A total of 61 new businesses hung out their shingles in Wilton this year, as of Nov. 1, according to records at the office of the town clerk. That is up from 56 for the entire year of 2015.

One of the newest businesses is the tutoring school known as C2 Education, at 14 Danbury Road in the Gateway Plaza. It is a nationwide education tutoring company that specializes in preparing students for achievement tests. It found Wilton to be a good market.

“We’re a nationwide company, and have been growing very fast, and thought there are more kids in Connecticut, and opened up the Wilton branch looking to serve Wilton, New Canaan and Norwalk, and we’re conveniently located for all three,” said Anna Duleep, director.

The grand opening ribbon cutting was on Nov. 9 at the 1,500-square-feet tutoring center.

“We’ll have an open house Saturday Dec. 3, from 1 to 3, with free practice tests available for students taking SATs and PSATs,” Duleep said.

It is good news that Wilton’s business life is growing, said Debra Hanson, director of the Wilton Chamber of Commerce. She credited First Selectman Lynne Vanderslice and the Economic Development Commission for working hard to support the growth of business in Wilton.

“I can only say that probably these businesses have recognized the value of Wilton and it’s community and the support that we all provide them.  We welcome all of these new businesses and wish them the best of success,” Hanson said.

It’s not a trivial economic indicator, said Nicholas Perna, economist for Webster Bank. “It’s a good thing,” Perna said. “Let’s put it this way, there are some numbers you have to scratch your head to interpret, but generally speaking, the increase in the number of businesses says something about the health of the underlying economy. This is a little bit like going to the doctor and taking your blood pressure and cholesterol.”

There is also another economic indicator that is looking up in Wilton, and that is job growth, Perna said. He said it may possibly be related to the surge in business growth.

In September, there were 8,256 employed, compared with 8,097 in September 2015 and 8060 in September 2014.

“Total employment grew almost 2% the last 12 months, where the year before it was up only about half a percent,” Perna said. “I would say it looks like employment grew faster in the past year than it did the year before.”

Not everything is coming up roses, including the downswing in housing sales and slower pace of new home construction, but these positive indicators help to offset the negatives for the town’s overall economic health, Perna said.